Md. Health Officials Seek Ban On Crib Bumper Pads

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Dangers in the crib. Maryland health officials say an accessory that’s designed to make the crib safe can really be deadly.

Andrea Fujii explains why doctors want to change the law.

After a five-month study, Maryland doctors determined baby bumpers pose more risks than benefits and want them banned.

Like most moms, Beth Tribles wants the best for her only daughter Charlotte.

“It was my understanding that using the bumper [prevented] the arms and legs from getting trapped between the bars of the crib,” Tribles said.

But Maryland health officials have announced that all baby bumpers pose hazards that outweigh any benefits.

“These products pose a risk of strangulation, asphyxiation and even death to babies,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Doctors say the danger lies when babies sleep too close to the bumpers or the ties cause them to choke.

In Maryland, about 50 infants die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome every year.

The chief medical examiner says since 2001 there’s been one confirmed death caused by a baby bumper, and nine asphyxiation deaths in which a baby bumper was present.

“The child doesn’t have to have anything pressing up against them,” said Dr. David Fowler, Maryland Chief Medical Examiner. “Just be close enough to them restricts the air flow.”

Some baby bumpers are breathable, but doctors didn’t differentiate between the two. Instead of bumpers, doctors recommend following a simple rule.

“The ABCs of safe sleep.  Babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs, in the Crib–along with a ‘D.’ Don’t use a bumper,”  Sharfstein said.

“I kind of feel like I should take the bumper down,” Tribles said. ‘When she was really little I worried about her suffocating. Now that I know that they’re saying the bumpers are not safe it scares me a little bit more.”

If the ban is approved, it would go into effect January 2013, and it would be the first of its kind in country.

There is a public comment period before the Maryland Department of Health makes its final push for a ban. If you would like to voice your opinion, send an email to

  • JQP

    MD lawmakers wasting tax payer money…again.

    The report cited by the proponents of this bill is summarized as follows: “A Washington University pediatrician, Dr. Bradley Thach, published a report three years ago that found 27 baby deaths over two decades caused by bumper pads. The study also found 25 nonfatal injuries in infants attributed to bumper pads.”

    Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? Over the same time period, 104 children ages 1-4 drown in the bath tub. The were 162 non-fatal incidents. Are we screaming for a ban on bath tubs? No. We should be addressing the issue of parenting practices, not the utilities.

    Let me just add one more little stat to make those numbers even more clear: In 2007 ALONE, there were 4,315,000 children born in the US.

    This is ABSURD!!!

  • JQP

    …oh, and by “addressing parenting practices”, I mean on a social level, not a government level. Like, be a good example for your neighbors, family and friends, of how to be a good parent. Have actual discussions with real people face to face about what works best and why some things don’t work….and for who. Honestly, lazy human beings rely on the government to tell them what is good or bad for them…pitiful…and, if I may reiterate….ABSURD.

  • Anthony P carota jr

    I dont believe what a doctor could say about baby bumper pads causing baby infant deaths . i waqs born in 1951 in upper nwewe york state in schenectady ny and i had bZAby bumoer pads on my crib the lones that were recalled for bzaby being caught . I saw always checked on periodacially my my mother who always chexcked ot see if i was allright > I could now ha ve baby bumper pads on mychilds bed they work . the only weay is if you dont always check on what your bAby is dloing in the crib. negelect . Be agood poarent and slawys check in on your child . Baby bumper pads tpo work. The doctor is diffentily wrong in his choice to not ha vde bumper pads in the crib . More babies will be hurt .USe common snese not waht a doctor says to be treu. You are teh pzarent not the doctor.

    • Eric

      Maybe you you need spell check or something. It was painfull reading your comment.

  • felicia morris

    this is bull i have used crib bumpers for both my kids and they are perfectly fine… doctors just want to find something else to complain about…. and there are many things that can harm a baby if parents are not careful…. we cant band everything in this world!!!

  • Adam Reuter

    This is blatant “nanny government”, hahaha.

  • Patt Mcdaniel

    I just want to say evern though my boys are all grown up, I have always felt that the bumper pads were dangerous.
    I alway thought that if my child did get thire head or arm or leg in the rails the bumper pad would only trap them even more. because the child would have to go under the pad to the bars inorder to get stuck.
    Even thought I new the bumper pad was needed to help pervent my child from getting stuck in the bars.
    So I always stuck them down inside between the matterss and the rail and hoped for the best when I went to sleep. How ever they never really lasted long because I just didn’t trust them. my be a new deisgn or something, because having is a good idea but made the way they are is not.
    just had to say…..

  • sid rosenberg

    where is the article on ground beef that was sold in md and not safe to eat.was on the noon news on wed.9-28,2011..need to know the name brand and what stores carry this “bad” meat.

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